Alastair Cook says Joe Root is ready to captain England, despite saying he will not be surrendering his role as skipper in the wake of the Test series loss to India.
England were hammered by an innings and 36 runs in the fourth Test in Mumbai, India convincingly taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
India have dominated throughout the series, but - speaking after the defeat at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday - Cook insisted his position has not changed.
He did, however, talk up Root, who is seen by most as the natural successor to Cook following a magnificent start to his international career that has seen him score 11 centuries in 52 Tests.
"I think Joe Root's ready to captain England," Cook said of the 25-year-old batsman.
"You never know until you actually experience it, because of everything that goes with the England captaincy. You're thrown in at the deep end and you either sink or swim. Nothing can really prepare you for it.
"But he's ready because he's a clued-on guy and he's got the respect of everyone in the changing room. He hasn't got much captaincy experience, but that doesn't mean he can't be a very good captain."
Cook remains hopeful of ending the series on a high with victory in the final match in Chennai, which starts on Friday.
"Being captain of England is a huge honour, a huge privilege," Cook added.
"You are at the forefront of the team and it comes on to your shoulders when you win or lose. In the heat of the battle you make those decisions.
"You go to bed at night and you have to live with making good or bad decisions. I am very proud to do it and we will go to Chennai as a group of players and it will be tough with momentum against us but if we can just grab every opportunity we have got a chance."